Skip to Content

This autumn, the toys are coming home

Published: Thu 3 October, 2019

*Shared in partnership with Coalville Heritage Sociery*

Action Man, Pippa, Tressy, Tiny Tears, Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake, Star Wars and many more are making a welcome return to Coalville this autumn. 

The Many Faces of Palitoy exhibition which celebrates 100 years of Cascelloid and Palitoy opens on the 12th October and runs until the 10th November and will be located at the old Palitoy factory on Jackson Street, Coalville which was is now the Heartwood Conference Centre, Rothley House. The exhibition is open daily during this period and is free admission. 

The Cascelloid and Palitoy story will be told through the iconic toys which include Girl’s World, Discovery Time Treehouse, Action Man and Action Force, Tiny Tears as well as Tressy and Pippa, Care Bear and Star Wars. 

 The Cascelloid and Palitoy exhibition will feature 100 toys for a 100 years and the story of Palitoy will be told through a selection of iconic toys including pre and post war dolls, Girl’s World, Tiny Tears, Care Bears, fashion dolls such as Tressy and Pippa, action figures such as Action Man, Star Wars and Action Force, early years toys from the Discovery Time range such as the Discovery Treehouse, games and hobby ‘toys’ such as Mainline Railways.

 The free exhibition will include how the company was established, the growth and popularity of each of the toys plus historical dolls and toys from the 1920s up to when production stopped in 1985. There will also be a chance to hear some of the key people at Palitoy telling their story of the work they did and activity area for children to play with modern representations of the historic toys. 

The exhibitions Historical Advisor and Co-curator, former Chief Toy Designer at Palitoy, is over the moon that this important toy company is at last getting the heritage recognition it deserves “Palitoy cannot be over-estimated in its forward thinking approach to children’s toys. In the early years Pallett and BXL, owner of Cascelloid, introduced many toys using new plastic materials such as Bexoid, which meant that previously dangerous celluloid dolls could be replaced with safe new plastic dolls. After the Second World War they introduced into the UK innovative ways to make dolls, and bottles, using blow moulding, and later injection moulding machines and other technologically advance in construction techniques.”

“But the 1960s was the making of Palitoy when it acquired licences from the USA to make Tiny Tears, Tressy and of course Action Man in 1966. Palitoy never looked back and after being acquired by the American General Mills Company, in 1968, went onto introduce many other great toys and games such as Stars Wars. It was sad that due to globalisation the company changed and eventually Palitoy ceased in 1985. We had a wonderful time working at Palitoy and it was like a family but as a designer we had one main focus in mind, a toy company only survives on the whim of an eight year old”. 

Stuart Warburton Curator said “This is a major exhibition telling the story of Palitoy and what more of a fitting place to tell that story but at the factory site where the dreams and magic was created. The starting point was a 100 toys for a 100 years showing the variety and types of playthings which came out of Palitoy. The exhibition is grateful to Leicestershire County Council Museums Service for access to their extensive Palitoy collection. The exhibition will also include important toys from private collectors, which will include the very first doll ‘Diddums’ an early example of a popular children’s book character licenced from the illustrator Mabel Lucy Atwell in the 1920s. The exhibition is part of the Many Faces of Palitoy project which the National Lottery Heritage fund has supported through a grant to celebrate the heritage of Palitoy. 

Steve Duckworth Chairman of the Coalville Heritage Society, who are leading on the project in partnership with North West Leicestershire District Council, Leicestershire County Council, the National Trust Museum of Childhood and Leicestershire promotion said “We are extremely grateful to the National Lottery Heritage Fund and their grant assistance towards the £86,500 Many Faces of Palitoy project. The exhibition is one part of the overall project, which includes archiving the Palitoy story and creation of a new website, working with schools and colleges, creating a film and radio play as well as gathering oral history recordings of the people who worked at the factory and bring the former workers together in a series of ‘staff reunions’ which to date have been very successful.  Coalville people are really proud of the town’s heritage and in particular Palitoy.” 

The exhibition is open each day from the 12th October until 10th November 10.00am – 4.30pm and is free.

Share this page: